Aug 16, 2023

Closures planned for U.S. 150; weight limits approved for Blackiston Mill bridge

FLOYD COUNTY — Multiple traffic changes are occurring in Floyd County, including a five-day closure on U.S. 150 and new load restrictions on the Blackiston Mill Road bridge.

The Floyd County Commissioners discussed various traffic concerns at Tuesday’s meeting.

On Monday, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is planning to close part of U.S. 150 to traffic to complete a bridge overlay project, according to a news release. The closure will take place between Greenville and Galena over Jersey Park Creek, located about 2.5 miles east of Ind. 335.

Depending on the weather, the bridge is expected to reopen next Friday by the end of the day.

INDOT is asking drivers to take designated detours at Interstate 64, Ind. 64 and Ind. 135.

Floyd County officials are urging drivers to follow the official routes directed by INDOT instead of taking county roads as detours.

Floyd County Director of Operations Don Lopp said with 12,000 daily commuters on that section of U.S. 150, “trying to put those on local roads would be unpleasant and, honestly, a nightmare.”

He said if they do use county roads, they need to be patient and “be extremely aware of their surroundings.” This includes paying attention to speed limits and watching out for school traffic.

Floyd County Commissioner Al Knable said the goal is to have an extra presence from the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department to make sure people are going at safe speeds.

The recent closing of the Sherman Minton Bridge has also led to detours in the area, but project officials announced a few days ago that the goal is for the bridge to reopen Monday morning before rush hour.

Crews from E & B Paving Inc will be working to upgrade the bridge deck during the closure. Crews began work in April for the bridge project on U.S. 150.

“INDOT reminds drivers to slow down, use caution and avoid distractions when traveling in and near construction zones,” the department said in a news release. “All work is weather-dependent and schedules are subject to change.”

The Floyd County Commissioners approved a weight limit of 14 tons for Bridge 51 on Blackiston Mill Road. The bridge over Silver Creek connects New Albany to Clarksville, and it is maintained by Floyd County.

Floyd County Commissioners approved a weight limit of 14 tons for Bridge 51 on Blackiston Mill Road. The bridge over Silver Creek connects New Albany to Clarksville, and it is maintained by Floyd County.

Knable said the restrictions are another measure to “preserve the life and integrity of that bridge while we await instruction on its replacement.” The county is planning to replace the bridge in the next few years.

“That bridge continues to have trouble with the decking in particular,” he said. “The substructures seem to continue to be rated safe for any of the weight that had been traveling over, but the decking is not OK.”

“Really, the weight restriction is not necessarily to keep the thing from collapsing or having a catastrophic failure. The weight restriction is to maintain the integrity of the deck, which continues to have issues that require plating.”

The county is seeking to plate the entire surface of the deck, and put in extra precautions to slow down drivers. Earlier this year, the county completed emergency repairs on one of the bridge’s piers.

Lopp said the weight limits are a “precautionary measure,” and it will still allow school buses to use the bridge.

Signs will be posted soon announcing the load restrictions, he said. The information will also be provided to the City of New Albany and the Town of Clarksville.

The weight limits will be enforced by the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department and Clark County Sheriff’s Department, according to Knable.

Vehicle owners violating the weight restrictions will face fines, including $100 for the first violation and $500 for the second violation. After three or more violations, it will be $1,000 each time.

The county is finalizing environmental requirements and other steps needed to build a new bridge. After INDOT and the Federal Highway Administration approve the environmental documents, the county will begin land acquisition.

Construction of the new bridge will likely begin in 2025, Lopp said.

Knable said the project has faced some delays as the county waits for federal funding, but he met this week with a member of Sen. Mike Braun’s office to advocate for expediting the project.

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